Roar recreates dizzying Indian stepwells in Jaipur Rugs’ Dubai showroom

UAE-based studio Roar has paid homage to the Escher-esque stepwells of India in its interior design for Jaipur Rugs’ showroom in Dubai, which features cascading, rainbow-coloured staircases.

The Jaipur Rugs showroom, the Indian brand’s first in the Middle East, is located in the creative district of Aserkal, in one of the former industrial area’s previously abandoned warehouses.

Roar‘s design for the space nods to the architecture of Jaipur, the rug manufacturer’s home city, and in particular its famous stepwells — reservoirs built with staggered terraces and dizzying sets of stairs all the way down into their depths.

Photo of staggered staircases in Dubai showroom covered with carpet in a gradient of indigo and emerald tones over two arched doorways
The Jaipur Rugs Dubai showroom is designed with reference to India’s stepwells

“The design concept was born from a simple sketch that I did after my first meeting with the client,” Roar founder and architect Pallavi Dean told Dezeen.

“I was so inspired by the stepwells that I’d seen in Jaipur during my first visit that I wanted to bring them to life in my design,” she added.

“I wanted to strip the idea to its bare minimum though, and work within its architectural purity, in order to avoid any plain pastiche.”

Photo looking down on an arrangement of playful, round furniture on a circular rug, all in neutral colours but surrounded by staircases carpeted in a rainbow of jewel tones
The stairs are carpeted in a gradient of rainbow hues

In Dean’s design, the repeating staircases feature across three of the walls, making a striking impression in the double-height space while connecting the ground-floor browsing area to the offices and sales suites on the mezzanine.

The arches that are typical to stepwells also feature in the 780-square-metre showroom, forming doorways or alcoves wallpapered with decorative rugs.

The hues in these rug displays are echoed in the carpet on the stairs, which is rendered in a jewel-toned rainbow colour gradient starting at indigo on one side of the space and ending in ruby red.

Photo of an open-plan showroom with repeated arches and sets of colourful carpeted stairs
Some of the stairs read to alcoves with rug displays

Dean called the construction of the staircases a “structural feat” that required navigating challenging approval processes.

“We had to ensure the steps were safe to use by installing a glass balustrade, which gives the impression that they’re floating when they’re actually carefully enclosed!” she said.

Also nestled between the staircases on the ground floor are two rooms described as immersive experiences, the Sapphire and Emerald rooms, which are covered floor to ceiling with rugs custom-made by Jaipur Rugs’ weavers as part of the brand’s Manchaha intiative.

In the project, the artisans design the rugs themselves spontaneously on the loom as they weave, using leftover yarn from the industry.

Photo of the Emerald Room at Dubai showroom showing floor-to-ceiling emerald green, intricately patterned rugs and an arched doorway framing the store beyond
Two “immersive” rooms are carpeted in rugs designed by Jaipur Rugs’ weavers

They would typically use a broader range of colours for the rugs in this series, but were briefed to work with emerald and sapphire tones for the showroom and given the precise dimensions.

The lack of sound in these rooms, created by the acoustic properties of the rugs, adds a dramatic dimension to visitors’ experience, according to Dean.

Photo of the Sapphire room at Jaipur Rugs' Dubai showroom showing blue patterned rugs covering the walls, floor and ceiling, which also has a stepped shape
One room is emerald and the other is sapphire hued

Next to the rooms, along the fourth wall, is the showroom’s rug library, with custom-made sliding panels allowing visitors to browse freely.

The walls and floors are finished with a warm-grey micro-cement and textured paint, forming a neutral base for the colourful features.

Metallic rose gold features in doorframes, cabinetry and other details, in another reference to Jaipur, which is sometimes called the Pink City.

Photo of double-height showroom in Dubai showing metallic rose pink details in the furniture, doorways, recesses and cabinetry
Metallic rose gold touches nod to Jaipur’s nickname of the “Pink City”

“All of our designs come from a place of empathy, and this one is no exception,” Dean said. “We always endeavour to understand what the client is trying to achieve – here, the client was trying to create a bold statement for their first flagship store in the Middle East.”

“It also had to be an experiential space, which can be intuitively navigated by its users. This is why, for example, we decided to build bespoke rug libraries with sliding doors for clients to flick through instead of having the rugs stacked on the floor, which, in my opinion, are so inconvenient to browse!”

Photo of the outside of Jaipur Rugs Dubai showroom showing a brick entrance with rose gold signage built into a warehouse
The showroom is located in a formerly abandoned warehouse

Dean founded Roar in 2013. The studio’s past projects include the interiors for cafe Drop Coffee and the Nursery of the Future, both in Dubai.

Last year it announced it was expanding into digital design after purchasing two plots of land for a showroom in the metaverse.

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